Need opinions on form design

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Adrienne Boswell, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
    wrong thing. There is a sign up form, and if the user has a business
    card from the referring agent, then the person should put the agent's id
    number in the form.

    I think that information should be put at the end of the form, not the
    beginning. I think that asking for a referring agent id might be
    confusing, especially if the user does not have an agent's business card.
    But, my client says that the agents want that field first.

    -- Form A --
    Referring Agent:


    -- Form B --
    Referring Agent:
    Adrienne Boswell, Jan 3, 2014
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  2. Ask your client if he'd prefer potential customers who don't have an
    agent id available to (a) complete the form, or (b) go to a competing

    Ask your client which is more important: (a) getting the potential
    customer details regardless of whether they have an agent id or not, or
    (b) getting the agent id if the customer has one?

    If you do put the id field first, you should default the field value to
    something like "not available". In fact this may be good idea regardless
    of where it is in the layout. Or use either the legend or a title
    attribute to make it clear that the agent id is optional data.

    Scenarios / Outcomes:

    Visitor has an agent id / enters id and stays on site

    Visitor has an agent id / doesn't enter id and stays on site

    Visitor has an agent id / goes off site

    Visitor doesn't have an agent id / stays on site

    Visitor doesn't have an agent id / goes off site

    Emphasise to your client that if potential customers don't have an agent
    id and perceive that they need one to complete the form, then they are
    likely to seek an alternative source of whatever service or product your
    client is offering rather than purchase it from your client.

    It is not a case of what you or your client or the agents think is best,
    what matters is how visitors to the page, whether they have an agent id
    or not, perceive the requirement. The wording associated with the field
    is perhaps more important in this respect than where it appears on the

    If you have already been in contact with one of our agents and know their
    id, please enter it here: []
    Denis McMahon, Jan 3, 2014
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  3. Opinions seldom change anyone else's opinions. Occasionally, rational
    arguments might. More often, you need arguments that directly relate to
    the other person's interests and values.
    Sounds like a common business requirement.
    Sounds like common sense.
    That's understandable because that information matters to him. There are
    two plausible explanations to his position: People think that what comes
    first, matters most. (A common prejudice/fallacy/assumption.) And he
    thinks that if it comes last, people will too often omit it, because
    they have already provided some data and don't want to spend time with
    anything extra. This is also the risk with any indication that says that
    this field, unlike the two other fields, is not obligatory.

    So I would say that it is a business decision. If the client thinks that
    it is so important to avoid lack of referring agent information that he
    can afford some lost sign ups, his requirement is not irrational.

    Normally, of course, obligatory fields should come first, clearly
    indicated as required and made required with HTML5 attribute and/or
    JavaScript (in addition to server-side checks of course), and optional
    fields should appear as noticeably optional (e.g., by the lack of an "*"
    that indicates required field). But business considerations may require
    deviation from normal principles.

    As a compromise, you could suggest that the referring agent be placed
    last and marked as optional, but so that if the user tries to submit the
    form without filling that field, a polite prompt asks him whether he has
    such information to provide (and lets him proceed without providing it,
    but requires a non-default button to be clicked for that). Ideally, this
    prompt should suggest why the information should be provided, when
    available, from the user's point of view, i.e. what the user gains by
    giving it. (Often, there is no such reason, so don't try too hard to
    provide one.)
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 3, 2014
  4. Adrienne Boswell

    dorayme Guest

    Sounds like you will need to convince the agents too!

    Make life easy for yourself. It would not confuse if you word the
    first question(s) in such a way that asks if the user has contacted an
    agent and if so, has he or she got his ID.
    dorayme, Jan 3, 2014
  5. Adrienne Boswell

    Ray_Net Guest

    You may put the AgentID optional zone(s) at the beginning of the form.
    But put at the end of the form 2 submit buttons labelled:
    -"I have an Agent"
    -"I don't have an Agent"

    and check if the end-user click on "I have an Agent" that the zones are not NUL nor
    Ray_Net, Jan 3, 2014
  6. Well, I took a little bit of everyone's advice, and want to thank everyone
    for their input.

    Here's what I did:

    <fieldset><legend>Referring Agent Information</legend>
    Referring Agent: <input type="text" placeholder="Agent ID#"
    <p>If you do not have this information, please leave it blank. If an agent
    gave you a card, the information will be on the card. You may also <a
    href="browse.php" target="new">browse the list of agents</a>.</p>
    <fieldset><legend>Your Contact Information - * Indicates required field
    * Name: .....

    (Using pseudo markup for brevity)
    Adrienne Boswell, Jan 4, 2014
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